Get to Know Our Head of Culinary, Chef Araminta

Learn more about the person behind our delicious recipes!

Tell us a little bit about you! Where are you from and what are some of your favorite things to do – besides cooking of course?

I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, where I studied Culinary Arts and Nutrition. For several years I worked as a private chef, cooking for people with various health conditions, with a special focus on seasonal plant-based foods. 

I have continued my education in kitchens around the world to build a stronger understanding of different cuisines and cultural food practices. This led me to Season two years ago, where I have been building and fine-tuning recipes and food content that can be enjoyed by all. 

I now live in San Francisco, where (when I’m not cooking or eating) you can find me exploring the Bay Area’s neighborhoods, parks, museums, galleries, beaches, rivers, and forests.

When did you know you wanted to become a chef and what sparked that interest?

I spent every summer of my childhood in Chicago with my grandparents, who were world travelers and adventurous eaters and cooks. They introduced me to a wide range of cuisines, allowing me to develop a curiosity and appreciation for global flavors. This exposure led to a curiosity about how these dishes were created. I avidly watched the Food Network every day after school and started collecting cooking magazines and books, absorbing as much information as I could. I started making dinner for my family in middle school with what I was learning. It wasn’t always edible at first, but my family was encouraging and eventually, I learned my way around the kitchen and started coming up with dishes of my own that I was proud of. I went to summer cooking camps in high school and by then my path to culinary school and beyond was clear.

What is your favorite ingredient to cook with and why?

I always have a big bowl of lemons in my kitchen. I use the zest and juice in all kinds of recipes to give brightness and balance to dishes that might otherwise seem a bit flat. We often add lemons to Season recipes to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients instead of adding extra salt. Lemon is one of those magical ingredients that goes with just about everything - you can add as little or as much as you want. Lemon zest, the yellow layer of the peel, contains the essential oils that give the lemon its unique aroma and flavor, while the juice is what gives that mouthwatering tang.

Tell us a little bit about your process for developing recipes. In your opinion, what are the important things that every recipe should have?

Recipe development is a five-step process in my work at Season. The first step is to come up with an idea for the recipe. We consider what kinds of recipes are popular and why, if the cuisines of the recipes match with where patients live, and if there are enough of these types of recipes, and where we may need more recipes to accommodate various conditions and meal types. 

The second step is creating an ingredient list for the recipes that fit the clinical standards of a given condition. Not only do the ingredients themselves and the amounts of them need to be approved by our whole team, but they also need to be easily found in most grocery stores. 

The third step is writing the recipe instructions. We strive to keep the language clear, concise, and consistent throughout all recipes. Each recipe is written in a way that should be easy to understand and follow regardless of cooking level. The most challenging part of this is organizing the steps in a way that will get all the elements of the recipes ready at the same time, without overwhelming the cook, while using the least amount of equipment possible. When this is achieved, the meal comes together more quickly because of consolidated time and ideally with minimal clean up. 

The fourth step is to test the recipe. Each recipe is tested exactly as it is written by cooks of different levels to ensure that it’s easy to follow, the ingredient proportions are correct, and that, of course, it tastes great! 

The fifth and final step, once a new recipe is approved, is to capture it with a high-quality photo. Each photo shows what a single serving of the dish looks like, to help create a more enjoyable browsing experience in the app.

Season recipes are ever-evolving based on recipe feedback. We consider every rating and piece of feedback that comes through each week to improve the recipes. The more detailed the feedback, the more we know how to fix it. We want to hear from you!

What is your favorite part about being a chef?

Sharing my passion for food and cooking! It brings me immense joy to hear from others that they made or tried something that excited them. There is something really special about creating something yourself, no matter how simple it is. Cooking empowers us to take control of our health and our budget, while also learning new skills that can be shared with others as the ultimate act of love and self-care.

What is your favorite Season recipe and why?

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Anchovy-Garlic Sauce! This is a great recipe for those who might be new to or hesitant about anchovies since it only uses a small amount of them. This dish relies heavily on pantry ingredients, which makes it affordable and easy to whip up. It’s also just dang delicious -  a tangle of ingredients in perfect balance. The umami-rich garlic and anchovies, the caramelized cauliflower that becomes slightly sweet when roasted, the brininess from the capers, a little kick from the chili flakes, fresh herbiness from the parsley, and of course a bright splash of lemon. These big flavors are tossed with pasta and sprinkled with parmesan cheese for a filling, satisfying meal that comes together easily, makes for great leftovers, and feels restaurant-quality. Hungry yet?

Do you have any advice for those new to cooking?

Like anything, cooking gets easier and more intuitive the more you practice. Start with simple recipes and techniques and build from there. The satisfaction of finally nailing something after many trials is unmatched, and is then locked into your skill set. Keep experimenting and collecting recipe skills at your own pace. If you ever have food or cooking questions, you can ask me directly at Happy cooking!